Mutual liking and meta-perception accuracy

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Abstract

The present study investigated the underlying mechanism yielding a positive correlation between dyad members' mutual liking and meta-accuracy (i.e., dyad members who like each other tend to be accurate in judging how their partner sees them). Two pilot studies were first conducted to confirm the presence of the positive correlation. The main study was conducted to test several possible explanations for the observed positive correlation. In the main study, each participant took part in a series of brief interactions with an unacquainted opposite-sex partner three times. In each interaction, participants rated their liking for the partner, evaluated their impression of the partner on 15 items, and finally inferred the partner's impression of them on the same 15 items. The meta-accuracy was operationally defined as the correlation between the partner's impression and the participant's inference. Neither of the two types of unilateral liking (i.e., participant's liking for the partner nor the partner's liking for the participant) predicted meta-accuracy. However, when both members found the partner likeable (i.e., mutual liking was present), the within-dyad average meta-accuracy tended to be high. The implications of these results for meta-perception research are discussed on the basis of Brunswik's lens model framework. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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